The prophetic words of Ghana’s first President , Kwame Nkrumah, written in 1965 captures Papua New Guinea’s reality today…
THE neo-colonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps its most dangerous stage. In the past it was possible to convert a country upon which a neo-colonial regime had been imposed — Egypt in the nineteenth century is an example — into a colonial territory. Today this process is no longer feasible. Old-fashioned colonialism is by no means entirely abolished. It still constitutes an African problem, but it is everywhere on the retreat. Once a territory has become nominally independent it is no longer possible, as it was in the last century, to reverse the process. Existing colonies may linger on, but no new colonies will be created. In place of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism we have today neo-colonialism.
The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.
The methods and form of this direction can take various shapes. For example, in an extreme case the troops of the imperial power may garrison the territory of the neo-colonial State and control the government of it [ADF + AFP have frequently been garrisoned in PNG]. More often, however, neo-colonialist control is exercised through economic or monetary means [e.g. huge foreign owned resource extraction, boomerang aid, or concessional loans from 'friends' like China]. The neo-colonial State may be obliged to take the manufactured products of the imperialist power to the exclusion of competing products from elsewhere. Control over government policy in the neo-colonial State may be secured by payments towards the cost of running the State [AusAID], by the provision of civil servants in positions where they can dictate policy [e.g. seconded Australian civil servants and academics], and by monetary control over foreign exchange through the imposition of a banking system controlled by the imperial power [e.g. Westpac, ANZ + Bank of PNG, which is groomed by, and run in the economic style of, imperial powers].
Where neo-colonialism exists the power exercising control is often the State which formerly ruled the territory in question [e.g. Australia in PNG], but this is not necessarily so [e.g. China in PNG]. For example, in the case of South Vietnam the former imperial power was France, but neo-colonial control of the State has now gone to the United States. It is possible that neo-colonial control may be exercised by a consortium of financial interests which are not specifically identifiable with any particular State [eg Exxon-Mobil, Rio Tinto, BHP, MCC, Rimbunan Hijau]. The control of the Congo by great international financial concerns is a case in point [in PNG, how much control do foreign financiers wield, the big construction firms, the mining and logging companies, etc].
The result of neo-colonialism is that foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreases the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world [and also between the rich elite and the rest of the population within the country].
The struggle against neo-colonialism is not aimed at excluding the capital of the developed world from operating in less developed countries. It is aimed at preventing the financial power of the developed countries being used in such a way as to impoverish the less developed.
Neo-colonialism is also the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress. In the days of old-fashioned colonialism, the imperial power had at least to explain and justify at home the actions it was taking abroad. In the colony those who served the ruling imperial power could at least look to its protection against any violent move by their opponents. With neo-colonialism neither is the case.
Above all, neo-colonialism, like colonialism before it, postpones the facing of the social issues which will have to be faced by the fully developed sector of the world before the danger of world war can be eliminated or the problem of world poverty resolved.
‘Africa’s Black Star’ is a documentary on Kwame Nkrumah, which plots his revolutionary efforts to free Ghana from dependency, establish an entirely independent economic base, provide free health and education as a human right, stimulate pan-African unity, and the subsequent US-UK conspiracy to bring down his government (who were bad for foreign business) through a military coup:
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has referred Australians involved the SABL land grab in PNG to the Australian Federal Police for investigation.
This was revealed in answers given in the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee in response to questions from Senator Lee Rhiannon (see below).
DFAT STATEMENT:Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee Budget Estimates 2014, 4-5 June 2014 QUESTIONS ON NOTICE/IN WRITING Question No 140 Program: DFAT Topic: PNG – Illegal Land Grabs in PNG by Australian businesses Question in Writing Senator Rhiannon Question 1. Considering the growing evidence that Australian companies and business people are facilitating illegal land grabs in PNG, using both Special Agricultural and Business Leases, in addition to State Leases and considering the failure of the PNG government to investigate or prosecute Australians involved in these potentially criminal actions, has or will the Australian government be taking any steps to address these serious illegal activities? a. If not, why not? 2. What concerns have been raised or discussed with the Australian Government about this issue? a. By whom? b. What has been the outcome of any such communications? Answer 1. The legislative framework for land use in PapuaNewGuinea is a matter for the Papua New Guinean Government. To the extent that the allegations relate to extraterritorial offences under Australian law, these allegations have been referred to the Australian Federal Police for investigation. 2. There has been a series of media reports drawing on the PNG Commission of Inquiry report findings. The Department is aware of four letters from members of the Australian public to members of the Australian Parliament regarding the issue over the past six months. The Department has replied to these letters to address concerns raised.
Rtd Judge Mark Sevua has requested the Registrar of the Supreme Court to cite Paga Hill Development Company principal, Gummi Fridrikkson and Liria for contempt, together with Land Board Chairman and Lands Dept Secretary. This is for their part in dealing with the Reclaimed Land at Paga Hill while a Supreme Court case was still before the Court.
The name parties are alleged to have all colluded and awarded the Reclaimed Land to ANDAYAP NO 5 LTD, a company owned by PHDC with Liria as Director and Fridikkson as Secretary.
No advertisement of the land was done in contravention of Section 69 Land Act which mandatorily requires all state lease to be advertised and therefore the process was illegal.
The Reclaimed Land is now part of a new Portion 3149 granted to Andayap No 5 Ltd on 4 June 2014 – about 3 weeks before the Supreme Court gave its judgment on SCA 18 on 1 July 2014.
The former Judge says It is obvious that PHDC failed to disclose its dealings of the Reclaimed Land to the Supreme Court:
Is this country being sold by its own people???
Why are the authorities allowing these dishonest and corrupt people to destroy the lives of our ordinary citizens like the residents of the Reclaimed Land at Paga Point with impunity?????”
JUDGE MARK SEVUA Rtd
On Tuesday morning, 22 July 2014; NCDC Officials with the assistance of armed Police, Paga Hill Development Company and Curtain Bros demolished the SDA Church located at Paga Point together with the shelters of the Settlers on the Reclaimed Land below Paga Hill at Paga Point. The demolition and destruction of the Church and the Settlers’ shelters were carried out without any consideration of human dignity and the interest and welfare of the affected citizens. This is a blatant violation of the Constitution!! !!!!
It is quite amazing that a person of the calibre of Powes Parkop, the NCD Governor, who used to be describe himself as a champion of “Human Rights” could authorise his employees and henchmen to destroy the Church and the Settlers’ life with the use of armed police, without any human consideration at all. I only wish that the three World War 2 bombs had exploded that day and destroy all those involved in the destruction of this area!!!!!!!!!!!
Where was NCDC when this area was filled by extracted rocks and soil from the Burns Peak Poreporena Freeway construction in the late 70s????? When did NCDC declare the Reclaimed Land at Paga Point to be “Part Commercial, Part Public Utilities and Part Open Space” ????? If NCDC claims title to the Reclaimed Land, why did it not prevent the Settlers from moving onto the Reclaimed Land from the start, when the area was filled????????
These citizens have been residing on this Reclaimed Land for many years without interference by any authority. The eviction exercise initiated by Paga Hill Development Company was wrong in the first place. Even the National Court Order to give vacant possession of Portion 1597 including the Reclaimed Land was also wrong. As determined by the Supreme Court on 1 July 2014, such order given by the National Court on 29th January 2014 excludes the area known as the Reclaimed Land. The reason is simple- Portion 1597 did not, does not, and never include the Reclaimed Land. Up to today, some Settlers are still residing on the Reclaimed Land under sun, wind and cold because they have nowhere to go. The destruction of their homes was done in haste and without affording them ample opportunity to relocate. NCDC headed by the so called “Human Rights” lawyer and Governor Powes Parkop must be held accountable for their employees’.actions, especially when there is a Supreme Court Order in place. I therefore call on the Governor of NCO, Curtain Bros, Paga Hill Development Company and the Police to compensate these Settlers who have fallen victims of the unconstitutional breaches by all those concerned. These Settlers are simple people, some unemployed, but they are nevertheless human beings and they deserved to be treated with human dignity.
It is ironic and quite sarcastic and stupid for Gudumundur Fridriksson to deny his company’s involvement when the Settlers have seen and identified Stanley Liria in company with NCDC and Curtain Bros employees in the area since the Supreme Court decision. The Settlers may be just ordinary people, but they are not stupid, and they know who Stanley Liria is.
I would suggest that the Settlers’ Lawyer should file contempt of court proceedings against Stanley Liria and his company and the others who have been involved in this destruction. Contempt of the Supreme Court Order is a very serious matter and hopefully the Supreme Court will deal with those who think they are smarter than the Supreme Court.
I condemn in the strongest terms possible the inhuman and unconstitutional treatment these ordinary Papua New Guineans have suffered at the hands of NCDC, Police, Curtain Bros and Paga Hill Development Company. I also condemn the unlawful use of threats and violence by armed policemen who behave as if they are above the law. They behave like armed criminals and
I call on Geoffrey Vaki and Jim Andrews to stop their armed thugs policemen from getting onto the sides of private companies and NCDC and to stop harassing unarmed civilians. Finally, I call of NCO Governor, Powes Parkop to apologise to the Settlers and compensate them for the damages inflicted on them through his employees. As a champion of human rights cause, he should be accountable for the abuse and breaches of human rights his employees had rendered to these simple innocent Papua New Guineans and o the right thing by these people who continue to suffer from the unconstitutional violations.
It is now 403 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked.
It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.
O’Neill has promised to cancel the leases and stop the illegal logging several times.
In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:
“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”
For 403 days O’Neill has failed to act on the Commission of Inquiry findings, failed to revoke the SABL leases and been complicit in the illegal logging of forest resources by foreign logging companies.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.
International State Crime Initiative
A British based human rights research centre, the International State Crime Initiative, has raised concerns over the contradictory state-corporate response to the recent demolition exercise at Paga Hill.
The exercise left hundreds homeless, in addition to destroying WWII relics and a Seven-day Adventist Church.
It took place amidst multiple disputes over land at Paga Hill, an area which is currently earmarked for a ring road, in addition to a luxury real-estate project spearheaded by the Paga Hill Development Company.
ISCI researcher, Dr Kristian Lasslett, notes ‘this egregious demolition exercise appears to be something of an orphan. Governor Parkop has eschewed responsibility for the destruction, while the Paga Hill ring road contractor, Curtain Brothers, also denies involvement. So who then is responsible for vandalising priceless historical artefacts and destroying family homes?’
ISCI notes matters get even more confusing when attention is drawn to the legal status of the land on which the demolition took place.
‘For years the community at Paga Hill has contested an eviction order obtained by the Paga Hill Development Company. Those families living in lower Paga argue that their homes lie on reclaimed land outside the developer’s state lease. On the first of July this year, the Supreme Court made an order supporting the community’s argument’.
However, according to Dr Lasslett, ‘back in 2013 it appears that this reclaimed land was somehow surveyed and registered as Portion 3149 in Survey Plan Cat No.49/3107. Then in January this year the Land Board recommended that a Special Purpose Lease over the disputed land be awarded to Andayap No.5 Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Paga Hill Development Company. This arrangement was formalised in a gazettal notice dated the 4th of June 2014’.
ISCI questions why the Supreme Court was not alerted to this arrangement given its direct relevance to the community’s appeal.
‘Even when responding to the 1st of July Supreme Court decision, PHDC failed to mention that it had acquired title over the reclaimed land’, Dr Lasslett observes.
‘Instead, we were lead to believe that only the NCDC and Curtain Brothers had a tangible interest. The community at Paga Hill are devastated. They can’t understand how land the subject of a Supreme Court hearing, could be leased out by the government to the respondent in the case, without the appellant being alerted’.
Dr Lasslett adds, ‘we note that the Paga Hill Development Company has condemned both the NCDC and Curtain Brothers for organising the demolition exercise. Yet the company has not explained how this demolition could occur on land it owns, without PHDC’s knowledge, nor have they denied organising an identical style demolition on the exact same portion of land – which at that stage they did not own – in May 2012. Their chutzpah is extraordinary’.
According to the NCDC some of those left homeless by the most recent exercise have been relocated to a small plot of state land at Gerehu Stage 6. One relocated resident informed ISCI, ‘its not OK, no toilets, no power, no water, no houses and it’s not safe’.
Dr Lasslett notes, ‘some families have been abruptly shunted off to land at 6-Mile and Gerehu by PHDC and the NCDC respectively, with promises of security. Yet it appears they have no enforceable tenure rights to either plot of land, and now live in a terminal state of uncertainty, without anything resembling adequate housing’.
Appendices – Documents Relating to Supreme Court action and land Portion 3149
By Radio Australia PNG correspondent Liam Cochrane
Police in Papua New Guinea have charged lawyer Paul Paraka with an additional 32 corruption-related offences, bringing the total alleged fraud to more than $AU100 million.
Anti-corruption investigators allege the PNG Government paid millions of dollars to Paul Paraka Lawyers for inflated or invented legal cases.
Mr Paraka was arrested last year over 18 alleged offences and now police have added another 32 charges of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and misappropriation.
The total amount allegedly defrauded by Paul Paraka is around $AU102 million.
The case has embroiled PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is alleged to have authorised some of the payments.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Mr O’Neill.
PNG’s Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki is refusing to enforce the arrest, sparking multiple legal challenges and a split within the police force